When Rafael Villar, Lord Vampire of London, stumbles upon a woman in the cemetery, he believes he’s found a vampire hunter—not the beautiful, intelligent stranger she proves to be.
Cassandra Burton is enthralled by the scarred, disfigured vampire who took her prisoner. The aspiring physician was robbing graves to pursue her studies—and he might turn out to be her greatest subject yet. So they form a bargain: one kiss for every experiment. As their passion grows and Rafe begins to heal, only one question remains: can Cassandra see the man beyond the monster?
Yeah i deducted a half star because my favorite character dies. I won't say who, its a spoiler, but its the char at the end who dies.
That said enjoyable paranormal romp!
There was something slightly unsettling about this book and the way that Cassandra nonchalantly discussed rooting around in a cadaver's body to see what made what muscle link where properly. Fascinating, but much like certain other characters I found it to be very off putting when I'm contemplating eating steak. And Cassandra love to go on at length about such things (is it a good thing if you can put a vampire off his meal? I'm not sure).
However the sparkling banter between Rafe and Cassandra makes up for the unsettling moments of honest discourse about peeling back a man's skin. Some of you may remember my complaints about Angelica in the first book (Bite Me Your Grace), and how annoying she was as a main character. I can't speak to the second couple (Lydia and Vincent from One Bite Per a Night), since I haven't read that book yet unfortunately (they are lots of fun here though), but neither Cassandra nor Rafe were frustrating personalities.
It was refreshing to read about a romance heroine who could argue sensibly while also understanding the larger picture. Was it wrong of Rafe to jump to conclusions and basically turn her life upside down because he didn't think to ask before assuming she was a vampire hunter? For sure. But he was being very accommodating and aside from ludicrous threats against her life that no one believed BUT her, was the picture of helpfulness. Look when even the villains of the plot say to each other "He won't kill her" (and in fact use that as a reason to revolt against Rafe) you should probably assume he isn't going to kill you.
Truthfully her agitation over whether he would or wouldn't kill her came quite late in the game (after the initial fear she all but forgets about it) and felt more like a contrived reason for her to fall into the dastardly (but highly inept) clutches of the bad guy.
To settle on the bad guy, Clayton, for a moment - he was so over the top shady that I'm certain the only reason he wasn't figured out sooner was all the "Lords of London" (in three years they've had three different lords!) keep getting hitched and finding their wives. I was a bit squicked by a lot of how he allowed his goons to treat their prisoner. Mild Warning for discussion of rape - there's nothing explicit, but the prisoner mentions it, the goons mention it and while later on everyone is very clearly NOT OKAY with it (to some violent degrees) I wish it had felt less like a set-up for two characters to be drawn together.
[spoiler]Lenore, a supplicant of Rafe's who Clayton kidnaps and allows to be raped multiple times by his "rogue vampire" henchmen, later uses their sexual assault as a means to escape. Jolly resourceful, if not particularly pleasant, for her! She then escapes to a neighboring vampire's domain--a well known vampire who dislikes others tramping about in his area uninvited and is no close friend of Rafe's--and more or less falls into his arms. He helps her and then later, after extracting a debt from Rafe for helping him defeat Clayton, requests Lenore. Its stated, a couple times, that Lenore is afraid of men and shies away from all of them no matter who they are (understandably so). Except for this Blackwell, the vampire who helped her. [/spoiler]
I think if such an issue hadn't been made about the assault, and a key reason why Clayton could never be allowed such power for allowing it in the first place, I would have been more okay with how those two characters meet. But after the end, and the request made to fulfill a debt, it left a bad taste in my mouth. Not sure why.
In all this was an enjoyable, if rather uneven, historical paranormal romp. I do think some of the descriptions of Cassandra and Rafe's ahem sexy times sounded less then sexy to me (I'm sorry "animalistic brutality" does not make me all hot and bothered), and Ann did kill my darling*, but I definitely enjoyed this outing.
(*) if you've seen the last episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, my darling dies very much in a similar fashion to how Anya died...with only slightly better reasoning [spoiler]To save Cassandra[/spoiler] and far more internal sobbing...though I still haven't forgiven Whedon for it (amongst other things).